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Palliative Care at Home: What to Expect for Your Loved One

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January 24, 2024
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Prioritizing comfort and well-being when a loved one is facing a serious illness is important. Palliative Care at home, an Assisted Living community, a board and care facility, or a nursing home can offer the compassionate support that’s needed in an environment that’s familiar.

Read on to learn about Palliative Care and what you should expect for your loved one.

What Is Palliative Care?

Palliative Care is a type of care that provides support and improves quality of life for both patients who are facing a life-threatening illness and their family members. Unlike Adult and Pediatric Hospice Care, typically reserved for those with limited life expectancy, palliative care treatment can be considered during any stage of a serious illness for anyone. Palliative Care can even be used in conjunction with curative treatments.

When To Begin Palliative Care

Deciding when someone should begin receiving Palliative Care is a person-centered process.

It’s essential to initiate conversations about Palliative Care options with your loved one’s primary doctor and, if applicable, senior care professionals early in the illness to ensure that the support aligns with your family’s values and goals.

Open communication, regular assessments, and a collaborative approach between doctors, nurses, specially trained medical care professionals, you, and your loved one are crucial in determining the appropriate timing for the introduction of Palliative Care.

Key indicators Palliative Care may be helpful for patients and their families could include:

  • Uncontrolled pain
  • Difficulty managing symptoms
  • Declining functional status
  • Emotional distress
  • The desire for spiritual support

How Can a Patient Benefit From Palliative Care?

Comfort in Familiar Surroundings

Receiving specialized Palliative Care in the comfort of familiar surroundings, whether at home, in assisted living or rehabilitation, or somewhere else, can contribute significantly to your loved one’s emotional well-being and quality of life.

Personalized Care

Palliative Care professionals will work closely with you, the patient, and care providers to create plans that address unique needs and preferences.

Emotional and Spiritual Support

Palliative Care extends beyond physical symptoms to encompass emotional and spiritual well-being. A multidisciplinary team, including social workers and chaplains, may be involved to provide support for your loved one.

Encouragement of Personal Choices

Palliative Care professionals encourage loved ones to make choices that align with their values and priorities. This includes decisions about medical treatment options, living arrangements, and end-of-life care preferences.

Educational Support

Care teams will offer educational support to both the patient and you. This may include guidance on managing medications, recognizing signs of distress, and understanding the progression of the illness.

What Services Are Included in Palliative Care?

Assessment and Care Planning

The Palliative Care journey typically begins with a comprehensive assessment of your loved one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. Then, a care plan is developed.

Pain and Symptom Management

A significant aspect of Palliative Care is the management of pain and other distressing symptoms. Medications, therapies, and other interventions will ensure your loved one’s comfort.

Assistance With Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

For those who need it, Palliative Care may involve assistance with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming.

Nutritional Support

Palliative Care includes nutritional assessments and support to ensure your loved one receives adequate nutrition, helping them maintain strength, manage symptoms, and improve well-being.

Medication Management

Care teams work together to manage medications effectively. This includes adjusting dosages, prescribing appropriate pain management medications, and addressing potential side effects.

Support for Caregivers

Palliative Care extends its focus to include caregiver well-being, offering resources, education, and respite care to provide you with support, too.

Who Pays for Palliative Care?

The funding and payment for Palliative Care can vary depending on several factors, including the specific services provided and your loved one’s insurance coverage. Because this can vary so widely, payment options that can be considered to cover Palliative Care may include:

  • Health insurance, whether private or employer-sponsored
  • Government-funded options, such as Medicare or Medicaid
  • Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits
  • Private pay
  • Financial assistance or grants by nonprofit organizations and charities
  • Long-term care insurance

Health care providers, social workers, and Palliative Care teams can often assist in navigating these financial considerations and accessing available resources.

At-Home Palliative Care With Notre Dame Health Care

Notre Dame Health Care offers Palliative Care services for older adults and more, ensuring patients enjoy access to the support they need whether in their homes, an Assisted Living community, a nursing home, or wherever they reside.

If you’re looking for home Palliative Care options for a loved one, call (508) 258-9156 to learn more.